Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dancing with the Stars: Triple Perfectos Highlight Broadway's Best

Guys, are you getting nervous!?!? There are only six couples left on Dancing with the Stars! I don't know about you, but I've grown so attached to these competitors that I'm rooting for a six-way tie. Alas, the dancing gods care not what I think, and this week, another couple was sent home, never to dance again for as long as they live.
It was Showstoppers Week this time around, meaning all the dances and songs were inspired by Broadway hits, like that one about cats, that other one about those boys from Jersey and a little-known one about the city of Chicago. What, no Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark?
Let's review the dances and then find out who got eliminated!
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough - Samba - "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" from "Jersey Boys," featuring guest performances by Mark Ballas and The Four Seasons
The dance: Accompanied by four dashing white men in red suits singing at high octaves, Marilu and Derek had the advantage of dancing in a style that really suited Marilu. Legs are key to the samba, and she used hers extremely well, keeping them in line with Derek's and propping them up straight just like they're supposed to be. There wasn't anything fancy with the routine, just solid dancing from a couple who have had their ups and downs, but are all up right now.
What the judges say: Guest judge Idina Menzel talked about how they knew each other and how she liked her. Okay! Julianne actually talked about the dance, and said Marilu looked as freer than ever.
The score: 36/40! Will it be enough to keep them around or is it already too late?
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold - Waltz - "Memory" from "Cats," featuring a guest performance by Leona Lewis
The dance: Let's give it up for Lindsay, who is able to dance with the towering Calvin without making it look awkward. She has to glide around with a graceful refrigerator, it seems. The thing is, the two make it look so natural and they fit together like two puzzle pieces so well that it's undeniably beautiful. Maybe there's something to being so conscious about the other person's height in mismatched pair like this that form and precision become the focal point. I don't know, I just thought it looked good.
What the judges say: Bruno said Calvin was "majestic" and praised his ability to match his big ol' strides with the tempo of the song, while Carrie Ann said this wasn't his song and got booed.
The score: 37/40, with the 10 coming from Julianne.
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess - Jazz - "A Brand New Day" from "The Wiz"
The dance: Unfortunately, Sharna was out again this week due to injury, so James once again danced with Jenna. Fortunately, this dance was all about James so it didn't matter who danced with him. He continues to be the most surprising contestant on the show, and what is so great about him is how he uses his entire body when he dances. It seems like a stupid thing to say, and maybe it is, but James comes out dancing like Voltron, five individual parts that come together as one. His neck did dancing in this number!
What the judges say: Bruno loves James' versatility, but pointed out one minor misstep early on that kept it from being perfect. Julianne said James should be on Broadway.
The score: 36/40; if he doesn't get ahead of the music in the very beginning, it's all 10s.
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber - Charleston - "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from "Sweet Charity"
The dance: You'd think the Charleston with all its high kicks would be a difficult dance for Terra -- and Sasha and Terra admitted it might be a problem -- but there's a vaudeville aspect to it that fits right in Terra's sense of humor and style, and she rocked it. Sasha threw in some creative lifts, but really, it was all about how magnetic Terra is under the lights that made this special. Plus, she threw in an elbow drop as Sasha was sprawled on the floor.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann says Terra outperforms everyone out there, and that she's so good at knowing her limitations and performing within them. Bruno lost his damned mind.
The score: 38/40, with the tens from Carrie Ann and Idina.
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko - Waltz - "She Used to Be Mine" from "Waitress"
The dance: Jana and Gleb went emotional this week, with Jana playing the waitress and Gleb giving her a pie? Okay, that's simplifying it, but what made this work was how Jana danced with her heart outside of her body and beating right there on the floor for us all to see. Jana and Gleb can obviously do sexy, but here -- and knowing Jana's turbulent love life -- this really felt like it was a chapter out of her biography.
What the judges say: Bruno said she was going to get HUGE tips if she kept that up, and Carrie Ann said her dances seem to be slices of her life.
The score: 40/40, a perfecto!
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy - Argentine Tango - "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago"
The dance: It's a risk to take away some of your star's personality and transform her two weeks before the finale, and Laurie looked almost unrecognizable here in a "sexy" dress and a bob. But it's also the type of gamble that can propel someone to the next level. And yep, Laurie killed it. Her (unfair) gymnastic skills were on full display here as she bent in unthinkable positions while showing perfect balance with Val. Now we've seen yet another side of Laurie, and unsurprisingly, it was a good one. America is in love with her.
What the judges say: Julianne said she was literally speechless, and Bruno said she was guilty of killing of that tango. Carrie Ann said she was working Val like he was a balance beam and pommel horse.
The score: 40/40!!!
The Team-Up Challenges
Since we're in the late rounds, it was time for the Team-Up Challenges! Two dancers are paired together to dance for more points
James and Calvin - Paso Doblé - "No Good" by Kaleo
The dance: In this Western-themed dance, Calvin played sheriff while James played a bandit, and it was totally silly... but also fun! There were some synchronicity issues, but overall they hammed it up for a solid performance.
What the judges say: Bruno said this was the last episode of Westworld, and Tom was like what the hell are you talking about?
The score: 37/40, with the 10 coming from Julianne.
Marilu & Terra - Jazz - "Big Noise from Winnetka" by Bette Midler
The dance: Show! Stopper! This was a big number straight out of the old days, and the choreography had everyone dancing together while mixing so many styles. And at one point, Marilu went under a huge skirt while Terra pretended to be up top for a fun image that really fit the routine. You know what? I liked this better than the guys' Team-Up.
What the judges say: Julianne said they went all out and Bruno said it was a big drunken party straight out of The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann edition).
The score: 36/40. Where was the love, judges?
Jana and Laurie - Contemporary - "Bird Set Free" by Sia
The dance: I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary dancing, but I can appreciate it when it's done correctly! Laurie and Jana -- who say they've been as tight as sisters since they met -- were totally in synch here. There was a birdcage and repeated "shut your mouth" gestures that fit with the lyrics, but technically this worked well, I thought.
What the judges say: Bruno said they were emotionally and physically in tune with each other, and Carrie Ann said they took teamwork to the next level.
The score: 40/40!
As great as a night of dancing as this was, someone had to go home. BOO! But it was time to say goodbye to Marilu and Derek. Sad, but it was the right call. Now we're really getting into the difficult decisions with these last five. I'm not ready for it, are you?!?!?!?!

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